Colorful cast of characters comes out for Lexington Fourth of July parade

mmeehan1@herald-leader.comJuly 4, 2012 

The heat didn't deter a line of marchers in red, white and blue stretching for blocks during Lexington's Fourth of July parade. Old Glory fluttered above the shimmering illusion of a wave that comes with a scorcher.

A black Chevy Bel Air near the beginning of the parade did have problems, however. It lurched and shuddered and squealed reluctantly to life only with the help of bystanders — including, of course, it being the Fourth, a Boy Scout.

Precautions were taken. The law enforcement officer portraying McGruff the Crime Dog, for instance, strapped on an elaborate ice pack before donning his humongous furry head, and the Uncle Sam sitting in a spot of honor on the Lions Club float wisely refrained from donning his sparkly blue tailcoat.

Despite the water stations that were provided, for 45 minutes starting at about 2:30 p.m. — roughly the end of the 30-minute parade — the police scanner buzzed with reports of people (including a rider on the float for the Fayette County Democrats) suffering from heat-related illness.

Those who braved the weather did so for a variety of purposes.

A group of American Legion veterans and supporters was near the head of the parade. Ron Wash, who served in the Air Force during Vietnam, said the Fourth of July is all about America's independence and freedom, and that's what he and all vets have fought for.

Joy Arnold, a member of the Central Kentucky Move to Amend, brought together a group of friends to exercise their First Amendment rights. They spoke out against the U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling related to the Citizens United case, which dealt with corporate support of political candidates.

Jeremy Boshears of Lexington was among a group of cyclists riding in the parade. He hoped their presence might promote the benefits of cycling and persuade people to use their cars less.

Larry Jenkins and the Rock and Rollers of Lexington's Main Street Baptist Church wore matching black T-shirts and took to two wheels to promote their Saturday cycling exercise program. "It's just a good chance to have fellowship with one another," Jenkins said.

Others turned out simply because they love a good parade — or any chance to put on their favorite costume. Ryan Kemp and Ryan Prewitt traveled from Bowling Green to march in the parade with their friend John Peacock. The trio wore matching military-looking khaki ensembles complete with name patches and homemade protoplasm packs, just like the ones in the Ghostbusters movies.

Kemp said his celebrating the Fourth as a Ghostbuster makes perfect sense — after all, the Statue of Liberty came to life in one of the films.

Besides, Kemp said, he doesn't really need a reason to put on the suit. He travels to events all the time to promote his favorite film and inhabit the character.

He ain't afraid.

Mary Meehan: (859) 231-3261. Twitter: @bgmoms. Blog: BluegrassMoms.com.

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